Always tough to call a by-election result, but it’s fairly clear that Labour will romp home will around half of the votes in today’s election, regardless of their candidate and their promises.
Over the last three election, Labour candidates have averaged 52% of the vote, compared to 27% for the Conservatives. Even given the way that the south of the borough has been forgotten about over the last year or two, this is clearly a Labour area.
In the 2006 and 2010 elections, there were only candidates from the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats standing, although that changed in 2014, of course, after Labour’s most recent split which led to the creation of the Independent Labour Group – but even then, they only mustered 18% of the vote, damaging mostly, it seems, the Conservatives who saw a 7% drop over 2010 versus a 1% gain for Labour.
The candidates? We have Mrs Henson, wife of the current portfolio holder for Community Safety, who has resorted to countless bits of PR spin from the Civic Centre over recent weeks to raise the ‘Henson’ profile; we have Annabel Singh, a young female Asian with a background in politics; we have our old friend Herbie Crossman, taking pot-shots at the current administration over their management of the affairs of council; and we have a relative newcomer Marshel Amutharasan, who along with Annabel, promises to bring new ideas and fresh blood.
So, we’ll call it: Maxine Henson will get 55% of the vote, Annabel Singh will get 26%; Herbie and Marshel will split the dregs between them with somewhere between 8-12% each.